When I first started carrying a side arm in the late 90’s, I didn’t put too much thought into holsters and just used whatever was the most readily available and inexpensive option, which at that time, usually meant either a leather or nylon holster.
In 2006 I was introduced to the Blackhawk SERPA holster which I actually really liked. Particularly for the positive click when the pistol was secured and the paddle lock worked just great for me. Since then, I have heard of more than a few incidents where accidental discharges have occurred on SERPA users. These incidents, along with a study conducted by FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) on the SERPA have given them somewhat of a bad rep in the recent years, so much so that many instructors have banned these from being used on their courses. Personally I have never had this happen, and I tend to think it may be more of a training issue, rather than a design flaw, but that’s just me. If you do choose to use a SERPA check out a brief article written by one of our admin, listing few things that may help you use this piece of equipment a bit more safety here.
A few years ago I ditched the SERPA for a Safariland SLS retention holster primarily so I could attach a Surefire X300 light to my pistol. The SLS is a great holster, very durable and allows the use of a LAM unit, and a variety of rail mounted accessories. The downside to this holster is that it is quite bulky and can be rather uncomfortable particularly when mounted to a drop-leg platform and when worn over long periods especially while seated in a vehicle.
Thermoformed Kydex holsters provide a great lo-vis alternative especially for those who carry a concealed weapon on a regular basis, it appears to also have become more mainstream over the last few years across the various gun toting demographic.
Solely Canadian (SC) is a Canadian -based company out of Grand Forks, British Columbia. They have been in business for over 5 years providing custom thermoforming solutions specializing in manufacturing Kydex holsters and mag carriers for LEO/Military and firearm enthusiasts.
Custom Kydex, Outside Waist Belt (OWB) Premium Line Concealment Holster
I recently acquired a custom Kydex, OWB, concealment holster from Tim at Solely Canadian. Their Premium Line (concealment and competition) products, boasts some of the thickest holsters/mag carriers in the business and are designed specifically to withstand harsh daily use. To accomplish this, SC uses Kydex T, a proprietary acrylic/PVC fire retardant, abrasion resistant material which has a higher impact and tensile strength rating compared to fire retardant ABS/PVC formulations as well as offers a significantly greater resistance to a wider range of corrosive chemicals and solvents.
The OWB is a gun-specific, thermo-molded, holster which uses a passive friction retention system to secure the pistol. Its low profile, pancake-style design allows the holster to hug your body, with minimal printing, avoiding any awkward bumps and bulges when worn under a shirt making it an ideal candidate for lo-vis work. The OWB’s retention is adjusted by tightening or loosening the retention screw which provides the user a way of tuning the pressure to meet their personal preference.
On the back of the holster are two standard metal belt loops which will accommodate any belts up to 1 7/8″ wide and a medium height sweat guard. The ride height of the holster can be adjusted slightly up or down by mounting the belt loops on the higher or lower screw holes. This is a zero cant holster but I experimented a bit with these belt loops and mounted them offset with the front loop at the lower position than the rear to create a bit of a forward cant. (Note: the mag carrier belt loop height is not adjustable)
The SC OWB holster and 2 x mag carrier is well made; with no superfluous material and upon close scrutiny one will notice that there are no rough edges. It is apparent by examining the OWB that SC has taken the extra care and attention to detail in the craftsmanship of this product. This holster is in Coyote Brown which is a nice, rich, dark tan-ish-like hue.
Fit and Compatibility
I initially found the retention a bit heavier than I prefer though, (I tried it on both a Mk25 and a regular P226R) as I preffer a retention on the lighter side. This allows me to perform a draw smoothly and quickly with minimal effort at the same time not so loose that the gun easily falls out.
It is important to state that this particular OWB holster was made specifically for the P226R and not the Mk25 or Combat P226. According to SC, their Mk25/P226 Combat holster will accommodate a standard P226R but not the other way around.
I played around with tension screw a bit until I have it tuned just right for the P226R but I wanted to see if I could make it fit the Mk25. The standard railed SIG has a slightly more rounded rail than the military M1913 picatinny rails found on the Mk25 and the Combat versions. To adjust for this, I found a slightly thicker rubber spacer to replacing the OEM one. This little bit of slack, I found allows the OWB to now accept both the standard railed SIG and the Mk25, though there is still a bit of rubbing at the front, top edges of the slide on both models where I noted a bit of the holsters’ material sticking to the pistol slide. I can only assume that over time, with repeated use this should resolve itself. (SC suggests using a bit of silicone lube on these areas if needed. If you prefer, you can also remove the tension screw and rubber grommet as it is only meant to add retention if needed.)
The 2x mag carrier, like the pistol holster, are friction-fit and also shares the same overall design with a retention screw and rubber spacer that can be adjusted to achieve the tension.
Something to note: if you are running a Norinco NP22, depending on which gen, this holster will accommodate your pistol, however you may have to play around with that retention screw a bit. You may also notice that you will need to angle the pistol out and away slightly from your body when re-holstering to prevent the slide catch from getting hung up on the back edge, next to the sweat guard as it does stick out further than on the SIG.
Conclusion and Insights
I’ve been using the SC Kydex Holster and mag carrier regularly for almost three weeks now and I absolutely love it! I found it to be extremely comfortable regardless of whether I am sitting, standing, kneeling or even lying down. On my Blackhawk Rigger’s belt it is very secure with very little movement. At the range while running live fire holster draws and mag change drills all the movements were clean and crisp with a nice ‘click‘ indication that the firearm is secure. During Mag change drills the carrier design allows comfortable and natural movement and indexing of the mag and while there is no ‘click’ to let you know the mag is seated so long as you make sure to push the mag all the way down there is no mistaking full and effective retention .
Because of the shape and design of the OWB it is able to hug the body contour, the OWB in the 3 ‘o clock is quite comfortable, at times it is easy to forget you are even wearing a holstered pistol, in the appendix carry position I find it just as comfortable other than when sitting which is the same for me with any holster.
I can say that this is without a doubt one of the most comfortable holsters I have ever used! For those of you who live in an open/concealed carry State, and have not yet tried a Kydex holster, you are seriously missing out! If you are in a line of work, such as private security contracting, where blending in with the civies is often necessary, Kydex solutions can provide you with a myriad of advantages.
Solely Canadian’s customer service, and support is everything one would expect from a company who has made a name for itself almost entirely through customer referrals. The company is very responsive to any questions or inquiries and are more than happy to do everything they can to make sure you are completely satisfied with your purchase.
Whether you are in the market for a new holster, or new to Thermomolded weapon retention, I highly recommend you give the folks over at Soley Canadian a call. If you are a LEO or a member of the military be sure to ask them about the government discount for all members of the Law Enforcement and Military.
B.A.D, one of our other admin, has been using a custom Kydex holster for his Glock from Solely Canadian as part of his EDC while doing contracting work as a Spatial Security consultant across several continents and had this to say his experience with Solely Canadian:
“I required an ambidextrous sheath for my mini karambit that could be worn on the left (cross draw) as well as accessed from my right. It needed to have a very low profile and have minimal printing while wearing a suit jacket yet still be able to be drawn and present with ease. They made me a sheath with attachment options that allow me to move it from my support side to my strong side as well and also be able to be attached to my G17 holster. It also needed a retention method so they came up with an ingenious was to lock the knife in place.
Similarly, I also needed a pistol + light package for my G17 and TLR-1 but I asked for it to have very minimal material. We discussed offset, but I tried sitting in vehicles offset and it doesn’t work for me. I find that it either has to be a high-ride thigh holster like my Safariland SLS with upper strap removed or be belt mounted for concealment. I opted for the latter.
Both products were delivered within budget and exceeded all my expectations. They (SC) always answered my emails promptly. I gave them my technical, functional business requirements and they were able to provide me with exactly what I needed.”
NOTE: the product featured in this review was graciously provided to us by Solely Canadian.